What an absolute humdinger of a match! For almost the entire game (58 minutes of game time to be precise) it was one team – England – who appeared on course to march into the semifinals. The Paul Revington-coached side had the match under control with goals in each half from Zach Wallace and Liam Ansell and just when one thought that England would chalk up their first World Cup win over Germany in 37 years (they last beat Germany 3-2 in the semifinal of the 1986 World Cup), Germany launched their fightback albeit a tad late into the game.
It needed the might of the Grambsuch brothers to bring Germany on par with England – skipper and elder brother Mats first reduced the deficit after he was brilliantly set up by Moritz Trompertz with two minutes and with one minute left, his younger brother Tom fired home a penalty stroke after a short while Christopher Ruhr slammed another stroke opportunity over the crossbar. It also meant that England goalkeeper Ollie Payne conceded his first World Cup goal after 258 minutes of game time.
Two goals in two minutes forced the match into a shootout, where German goalkeeper Jean-Paul Dannerberg, who was preferred over regulation time goalkeeper Alexander Stadler, put up a heroic display, effecting two saves off David Goodfield and Liam Ansell. Liam Ansell must have realised how hockey can be a great leveller! Only 30-odd minutes before he scored a superb short corner after David Condon put a lot of innovation in injecting the PC to the extreme right corner for Ansell to blast home past Alexander Stradler.
England were outstanding in their deep defence – they frustrated the Germans to no end and it can be seen how the Honamas players were showing signs of losing their head. Christopher Ruhr, who hasn’t been having a great World Cup so far, once again getting ‘carded’ for a rough opposition tackle.
England weathered early offensive from Germany before settling in a nice bout of passing play with threats upfront – a fine combined effort from Will Calnan, Stuar Rushmere and Zach Wallace saw them draw first blood with Wallace slamming the high goal into the German goal. This is Germany’s 51st win over England in 90 international meet-ups with England winning 14 and 15 games being drawn.
Germany’s late surge means they have earned the right to lock horns with world number one Australia in the semifinal. England would be gutted with the fact they had to settle for second-best after being on the doorstep of victory.